DVS meet iPad – DJ Player 2012 [Video and Interview]

It’s like 2 of the major revolutions in Digital DJing just got blended together, and at the same time smash down a remaining barrier. DVS systems like Serato and Traktor Scratch have long been thought to be the province of laptops – and only laptops. Trying to get that timecode signal into and out of Apple’s wonder tablet was thought to be quite impossible. But the clever people at iMect (makers of DJ Player and the Red Bull DJ apps) have applied their minds to issues wider than iOS and have set about bridging another digital gap.

What you see in the above video is DJ Player being controlled by vinyl. It’s not an especially complicated setup, which surprised me that nobody done it before. Inklen’s Tonetable is one DVS solution that sees iOS devices play a timecode, but this solution aims to replace the laptop with just a single iPad.

In the absence of any PR, and the video not giving a tremendous amount away, I fired of an email to Gábor Szántó from iMect with a few questions, and back came a understandably reticent, light on detail reply.

Q. I think I understand what’s happening in the video – can you explain the setup?

It’s like any other DVS setup, the turntable is connected to the iPad with a USB soundcard. We also used a phono-line converter, because the soundcard we used for this video had no phono input.

Q. The timecode – off the shelf or one of your own?

Our own, but it’s not timecode, pure sinus.

Q. Is this an iPad per deck or can one iPad handle 2 decks? If so, how does it do it?

The iPad can handle 2 decks, if the soundcard supports 4 input channels.

Q. I’m guessing this is achieved by iOS6’s advanced audio routing. How would you handle audio output from the iPad?

No, it works with iOS 5 too. The iPad on the video runs iOS 5.

Q. Is the latency good enough for DJing?

The overall latency (not just the buffer size!) is under 10 ms.

Q. Will it work with iPhones too?

The iPhone doesn’t support USB soundcards officially.

Q. This is just proof of concept right now. Do you see this as a viable option for clubs with CDJs?

Everyone thinks it’s a proof of concept. I’m happy to announce here in DJWORX, that it’s much closer to release than you think. 😉

Q. Do you feel this is the beginning of the iPad becoming a real force in DJing? Should the laptop be worried?

It’s not our philosophy to tell the DJs “you must use this or that”. For many DJs, the iPad is already a more convenient and better looking tool than a laptop. For other DJs not. Time will tell.

So you read it here first – this is in fact quite a long way beyond proof of concept. And it seems that the final setup will be quite a lot simpler than shown in the video. More detail will be coming in the coming days and weeks. I for one am pretty excited to see how this works. And does also seem to back up my feelings that the iPad will find a place alongside, rather than instead of traditional DJ gear.

If it truly can act like a laptop and plug into an audio interface, and send audio back out in stereo with minimal latency, then we may have just witnessed another barrier coming crashing down. There is of course the issue of storage, which for some will be a major issue, but perhaps not for those who would replace a laptop with an iPad.

More to follow on this emerging story.

UPDATE: Not being native English speakers, the hilarity and connotations of “sinus” was lost on the DJ Player team. It’s now called “Pure Sine”, with an updated image above.

  • Ugn

    I’ve waited this since i bought my first iPad…

  • yeahdef

    should have asked him what the hell he means by ‘pure sinus’. what do we do? “sniff” the iPad?

    • Tee hee. Sinus means no timecode as such – just a pure sine wave. You can understand how they might be reluctant to release detail.

  • Ryan Supak

    Did the iPad video camera have something to do with it? I couldn’t tell if that was just for visual excitement.

    • It’s just a feature of DJ Player I think.

      • Ryan Supak

        Yes, the Youtube comments expand on this a bit.

        Emblematic of one of the things I love about homegrown, v1.0, software. Quirky features like this.


  • cutselekta

    look at the huge latency

    • I wouldn’t judge latency from a Youtube clip.

  • MobOne

    I’m delighted to see this coming ! 😀

    I don’t have an ios apparatus (yet), but i was patiently waiting for this exact stuff to happen before committing and buying one.
    We had to see this come from a (relatively speaking) small ios app company before we can see what the “big boys” have in their bags for us.
    Because i’m sure that i’m not the only one to be certain that NI, Serato and the VDJ boys have been hard working towards that for quit some time, just waiting for apple to introduce some new functionalities into ios to unleash dvs on ipad onto us !
    The only thing working against Serato and NI is that ios only accepts multiple ins/outs in soundcards that are class compliant/no drivers required. That i’m sure isn’t to their liking, seeing how they like to control what we need to buy to get the dvs experience of our choice.
    Anyway, the future looks bright !

  • Spder J Hamilton 00

    Could the possibility exist that 1 iPad for the GUI and another for the Browser? I’m thinking in terms of space (like with Traktor’s 4 Deck/Mixer display on one & the browser on another iPad). There was a post not that long ago addressing multiple displays for DJ softwares with optional displays for other uses.

  • Make it Traktor and have it work on a Surface or Nexus tablet and I’m in!


    As always tons of question :
    – how can an ipad handle a DVS setup as a netbook (Atom) struggle to do so ?
    – how do you connect a soundcard to an ipad ?
    – is there a list of multiple i/o soundcards that could work with an ipad ?
    – if it is not timecode but just sinus, it is something like the hybrid mode from Denon deck ? (this is why he need to cue back from the gui)
    – what brand of timecode vinyls/cd do you need to use ?
    – the GUI show only one deck, what does it look with more decks ?
    – why can we see pitch bend control on the gui as he is using external control ?

    • Gábor

      Performance depends much more on the developer than on the hardware. As mobile devices have much less power than any laptop, we need better dev-fu than the desktop guys. 🙂 DVS with 2 decks doesn’t eat more than 5% CPU on the 1st gen iPad with DJ PLAYER. And not much more if it would be “real timecode”.

      You can connect USB audio class compliant sound cards to the iPads, through many adapters, like the camera connector kit from Apple. Some sound cards are class compliant, some are not, but most new cards are.

      I don’t know how Denon’s hybrid mode works, but we don’t read absolute position (timecode), just relative speed. Of course without sticker drift still. The vinyl is ours, you’ll be able to purchase it in our webshop.

      DJ PLAYER is an existing product in the App Store. It looks the same in DVS mode, as all controls on the touch screen are still useable while you’re using DVS.

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  • Dj L-Biz

    I’d love to see how this develops – i love using dvs and have no hang ups about using a laptop – but i’m all about saving weight and convienece as well as best performance (thats why i also use Itch with a controller for certain gigs). But if i can leave my horsehorse laptop at home and bring an iPad instead and get to use dvs and all that entails then that would be great.
    Also iPad could easily store a carefully selected library of wavs of aiff files which means for most people should be well covered. (How many of you, wedding dj’s aside, play for more than a couple of hours in a live situation)

    • Dj L- Biz

      *workhorse laptop

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  • I’m fascinated. I wonder how a sine wave is decoded for it. counting the peaks for speed? hmm. I need to look into it.